By Chris Kassar
Climbing dangerous mountains, scaling cliffs, running 100 miles at a pop, riding tough, rocky, steep trails; we take on massive challenges like these at the drop of a hat. But, ask anyone who’s been in love—true, real, lasting love—and you’ll learn that many these immense exploits pale in comparison to the greatest adventure of everyday life: being in—and staying in—a supportive, healthy, compassionate relationship.
So, how do we train and prepare? What skills, tools, and gear do we need to succeed? As divorce rates soar and online dating sites proliferate, many of us don’t know where to look for answers.
Enter siblings DJ and Gillian Pierce, co-founders of the Global Glue Project (GGP), who are working to capture and share the secrets of healthy long-term relationships through interviews with real couples of all kinds.
“There’s so much emphasis on finding a mate, but little on how to keep a mate,” says Gillian, who believes GGP (globalglueproject.com) provides a fantastic resource for this situation. “There is great value in learning from couples who are in a successful relationship.”
Since GGP’s inception in 2010, they’ve filmed more than fifty couples from across the planet, confirming that there isn’t a magic bullet but rather simple, universal tenets that successful relationships hinge on, including communication, compromise, kindness, and commitment.
Take Tommy and Kia, for instance. They’ve been together for 13 years and admit that their relationship requires work and “continuously consciously choosing” to see the light, to focus on the love that you share and to be compassionate. Tommy and Kia also attribute their success to the fact that they “pray at the same altar” (share the same core beliefs), they choose to “hold the pose” (instead of running away when things get tough) and they both share a deeply rooted love of nature.
“The presence of nature in our life is critical and probably the central most important thing to both of us. From the very beginning of our relationship that’s always been true,” says Tommy, who refers to Yosemite as “church,” “spiritual,” and “very powerful” because it’s a place where he and Kia have shared countless climbing and hiking adventures, But the couple doesn’t have to venture out on an epic trip or scale El Capitan to gain strength from the outdoors; they rely on it daily to handle pressure or stress.
“We’ll often say to each other, ‘Let’s just go walk it out …’” says Kia, referring to times of struggle. “We work through it and shift the nervous system to a different level. We recognize the power that nature has to harmonize us and get us back to that neutral playing field.”
These are the kinds of tidbits highlighting the glue that holds couples together that DJ and Gillian want to archive for perpetuity. This brilliant duo hopes their archive of inspirational videos provides a road map for those of us seeking answers.
“One piece of the project is preserving the wisdom from the sixty-year marriages that are going extinct,” says Gillian, mentioning her great grandparents’ life together as an example of a lasting relationship.
“But, we also want to be a source of inspiration. So often we don’t know what’s possible or healthy, and we just go into autopilot doing what we’ve been programmed to do or what we’ve seen our parents do. My hope is that these films bring people together, spark conversation, and provide a resource for those seeking their own path or a different way to move through the adventure.”
Watch Tommy and Kia’s video here.
Or watch this the story of another couple that has appeared in and contributed to Women’s Adventure magazine in the past.
This article was originally published in Women’s Adventure magazine‘s Summer 2014 issue.